herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

Boy (13) is jailed for stab murder of tragic Jack

A mother wept in the Old Bailey in London as one of the youngest children to plead guilty to murder was locked up for a minimum of 11 years.

The 13-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to stabbing 53-year-old Christopher Barry, originally from Cobh, Co Cork, twice in the chest outside his home in Edmonton, north London, on December 14 last year.

The court heard he had left a 13th birthday party with a group of friends to see another boy on to the bus home in time for an 8pm curfew.

But on their way back to the party, they went to the wrong block of flats and came across Mr Barry, accompanied by his girlfriend Sabrina Finn, outside.

Shoving

When the victim refused to let them into the building, there was "pushing and shoving" between Mr Barry and the three boys before the defendant managed to get in.

He followed Mr Barry into the lift where he produced a kitchen knife from his rucksack and demanded "What you saying now? What you saying now?" before stabbing him twice.

Mr Barry did not know straightaway that he was hurt, and realised only when he took off his wax jacket inside his flat and noticed blood on his shirt, Zoe Johnson QC said.

Shortly afterwards, he collapsed and went into cardiac arrest, she said. He died shortly afterwards.

Meanwhile, the boy had texted one friend "Ok, if anyone asks, I wasn't there today", and told another he was going to prison. The court heard the boy had been a member of a gang since he was just 10 and had been excluded from a school after receiving a police warning for carrying a knife on its premises.

The girlfriend of Mr Barry, who was known as Jack, attended today's sentencing by judge Stephen Kramer. Ms Finn said in a victim impact statement: "I'm back at work now and although I walk, talk and look the same as I did before, inside I'm tired and my heart is broken.

"Jack saved my life last year when I had a serious medical condition which required emergency surgery. I could not do the same for him."

Unique

In mitigation, the boy's lawyer Michael Turner QC said this was a "unique" case and in all his years as a barrister it was the only time such a young defendant had pleaded guilty to murder.

The boy's mother wept in court as Judge Kramer sentenced her son to be detained at Her Majesty's pleasure for at least 11 years.

The judge told him: "You are only 13 years old but shortly after 7.30pm on the evening of December 14 2014, you were carrying a knife in your bag.

"You wanted to get into a block of flats but you went to the wrong block with tragic consequences for everyone involved."

hnews@herald.ie

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